Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day* 1001 Books Book


Watson, W. (2005). Miss Pettigrew lives for a day. London: Peresphone Books.


After some rather heavy reads from the 1001 Books list, I was in the market for something a bit more cheery. Flipping through the book, I noticed Miss Pettigrew lives for a day. I recalled watching ads for a movie based on the book on TV and seeing them in magazines. It didn’t appear dreary! I requested the book via ILL. Then, I was able to read it.

The middle-aged governess, Miss Pettigrew, comes to the employment agency in 1930s London. The agency brings forth two different jobs – one of them being “LaFosse – governess.” With a gulp, Miss Pettigrew perfunctorialy makes her way to the LaFosse residence on time. There, she meets the lovely Miss LaFosse and a gentleman. Apparently, Miss LaFosse is a popular lady. Performing alchemy, Miss Pettigrew helps Miss LaFosse rid guy after guy from the house. Young Miss LaFosse immediately takes to Miss Pettigrew, playing the Fairy Godmother to Miss Pettigrew’s Cinderella. Throughout this day, Miss Pettigrew has the most fun she has ever had in her life. Miss LaFosse enjoys it, too. Hang on to the end though and find out about those kids of Miss LaFosse’s, though.

With charming sketches throughout the book, this light treat was a nice change from numerous dull, tedious books I have read. The bond of the two main characters and a message of “taking all kinds” make Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day stand out remarkably among various 1001 Books I have read. My only complaint is in regards to some prejudices evidenced by the author. In one part, Miss Pettigrew remonstrates Miss LaFosse’s involvement with Phil, a man of Jewish heritage. At another point, Miss Pettigrew and Michael call Nick a derogatory Italian term. If not for such discrimination, this book would have had a perfect score from me.

4 out of 5 Pearls

Places: London, UK; England

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